Husker Quarterback Tiers 1998-2018


Nebraska QB Tiers since 1998


When I first started this project, I expected the results of my cluster analysis to result in play style groupings. Instead, players grouped together in tiers of quality. In a previous post, I discussed the different groups of QBs based on each cluster name. Here, I would like to update my grouping methodology to group players into tiers. The methods behind creating the tiers remain the same, but the explanations of each tier are to be more in line with the other positional groupings. The data was collected from sports-reference.com.
QB Tier Average
Tier
Comp
Att
Yards
TDs
Ints
Rush Att
Rush Yds
Rush TDs
Ratings
Pct
1
25.67
39.76
322.03
2.56
0.93
5.74
6.59
0.28
149.13
64.56%
2 - DT
14.75
25.22
185.65
1.34
0.69
13.11
63.43
0.77
132.28
58.46%
2 - Pro
20.06
32.94
250.89
1.82
0.88
6.63
11.22
0.29
137.75
60.90%
3
16.10
27.89
196.07
1.30
0.87
5.86
5.60
0.19
125.98
57.73%
4
11.89
21.71
139.17
0.86
0.77
6.76
13.31
0.22
114.56
54.79%

Unlike the four groups that other positional groupings split into, QBs best split into five groups. This is caused by the very distinct playing style of mobile QBs. Because of the similarity in total yardage per game, these dual threat QBs are considered similar to Tier 2 passers. Thus, Tier 2 QBs are broken into two groups: Tier 2 – Dual Threat and Tier 2 – Pro Style. (Note: a QB needed to average 14 pass attempts per game to be included in the analysis. This explains the missing years.)
Nebraska QB Tiers since 1998
Name
Year
G
Comp
Att
Yards
TD
Int
Rush.Att
Rush.Yds
Rush.TD
Cluster
Adrian Martinez
2018
11
20.36
31.55
237.91
1.55
0.73
12.73
57.18
0.73
2 - Pro
Tanner Lee
2017
12
20.50
35.67
261.92
1.92
1.33
2.50
-8.08
0.17
2 - Pro
Tommy Armstrong Jr
2016
11
13.73
26.73
198.18
1.27
0.73
10.27
46.55
0.73
2 - DT
Tommy Armstrong Jr
2015
12
18.50
33.50
252.50
1.83
1.33
8.17
33.33
0.58
2 - Pro
Tommy Armstrong Jr
2014
13
14.15
26.54
207.31
1.69
0.92
11.15
54.23
0.46
2 - DT
Taylor Martinez
2012
14
16.29
26.29
205.07
1.64
0.86
13.93
72.79
0.71
2 - DT
Taylor Martinez
2011
13
12.46
22.15
160.69
1.00
0.62
14.46
67.23
0.69
2 - DT
Zac Lee
2009
13
13.62
23.23
164.85
1.08
0.77
7.92
13.15
0.08
4
Joe Ganz
2008
13
21.92
32.31
274.46
1.92
0.85
7.08
19.85
0.38
2 - Pro
Sam Keller
2007
9
22.78
36.11
269.11
1.56
1.11
2.78
-8.67
0.00
2 - Pro
Zac Taylor
2006
14
16.64
27.93
228.36
1.86
0.57
4.29
-2.29
0.07
2  - Pro
Zac Taylor
2005
12
19.75
35.83
221.08
1.58
1.00
6.33
-3.42
0.08
3
Joe Dailey
2004
11
13.91
28.18
184.09
1.55
1.73
4.82
5.00
0.36
3
Eric Crouch
2001
12
8.75
15.75
125.83
0.58
0.83
16.92
92.92
1.50
2 - DT

Nebraska has not had a Tier 1 QB the last 20 years. Joe Ganz came the closest to a Tier 1 QB performance in 2008. Ganz threw for more YPG than any other Husker QB the last 20 years while also tying Tanner Lee in 2017 for the most TDs per game. Nebraska could have its first Tier 1 QB in the (post) BCS era in the next few years. In his sophomore season, McKenzie Milton made the jump from Tier 3 to Tier 1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adrian Martinez is able to make a similar jump under Scott Frost in year 2.
The worst passer on the list is also Nebraska most recent Heisman winner – Eric Crouch. Despite having passing numbers worse than a Tier 4 QB, his rushing numbers propelled him to the Heisman in 2001. Crouch was joined by Taylor Martinez in 2011-2012 and Tommy Armstrong Jr in 2014 and 2016 as the only other Tier 2 – Dual Threat QBs the past 20 years.
Each of Nebraska’s last four coaches has produced at least one Tier 2 – Pro Style QB. Both Zac Taylor and Sam Keller reached this mark for Bill Callahan in his last two years at Nebraska. In Bo Pelini’s first season, Joe Ganz produced a Tier 2 season. Mike Riley was able to get two Tier 2 – Pro Style seasons out of his QBs. The most successful season of the Riley era was with a Dual Threat style QB.
Three seasons have been marked by subpar QBs the last 20 years – 2004, 2005, and 2009. Callahan’s first two QBs struggled only reaching Tier 3 status. Joe Dailey was recruited as a mobile QB resulting in him throwing the most interceptions per game in the West Coast offense. Junior college transfer Zac Taylor also struggled in his first year as the starter at Nebraska before settling down for a good senior season. 
The 2009 season is one of the biggest “what ifs” in recent Nebraska history. With the seasons #1 ranked scoring defense and the nations #75 scoring offense, Nebraska came within one second of winning its only conference championship since 1999. What could have been if Nebraska had better than Tier 4 QB play from Zac Lee that season. 12-1 with a top 5 final ranking? Regardless, this was probably the best Bo Pelini season.
Over the last 20 years, QB play at Nebraska was very up and down. However, much like most of the offensive units and Nebraska, things seem to be looking up for QBs at Nebraska. Who is your favorite Husker QB?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Ten Recruiting 2017-2020

Just How Special is the Huskers Returning Trio?

To Run or Not to Run: That is the Question on Third Down